A mountain of trash: Healing the Himalayas

A mission to heal the garbage strewn slopes of the Himalayas
A Mountain of Trash : Healing the Himalayas

It took just one trek in 2009 for Pradeep Sangwan to fall in love with the Himalayas. Now at the age of 33, his love affair sees him trek an average of 2,000 km a year. 

Pradeep isn’t alone in appreciating the majesty of the landscape. In the early 2000s, Bollywood also discovered the beauty of the Himalayas and stories crafted around adventures in the mountains ignited an interest in trekking, leading to a boom in the industry. But the locals who have a deep spiritual connection to the mountains, were not equipped to handle the aftermath, once the visitors left. 

The pristine trails became littered with plastic, glass bottles and other garbage from camping expeditions. This pollution didn’t just destroy the natural beauty of the Himalayas, the toxic residue generated by the uncleared waste threatened the environment, as well as the lives of the people and wildlife that live there.

This dire situation led Pradeep to literally take matters into his own hands and he began to pick up garbage on each trek. A mission which friends, locals and volunteers from around the world would come to join in, leading to a 5,000 strong movement to create sustainable change at 3,000m above sea level.

A movement called Healing Himalayas.

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT:

Tell us how you reduce your trash when you travel - are there habits you practice or gear you carry? Share your hacks with us here. 

About Healing Himalayas

Healing Himalayas was set up to tackle the growing problem of garbage on the once pristine trekking paths of the Himalayas. They organise cleaning drives with volunteers from the local community and trekkers from around the world and till date have collected more than 500,000kg of garbage.

Contributors

Producer & Writer

Rani Jeyaraj

Photographer & Writer

Ruhani Kaur

Executive Producer

Sharon Pereira